A few things to keep in mind before diving in:
- These rankings are based on eight-category head-to-head leagues. They factor in an owner’s ability to punt a certain category (mostly FT%), so keep that in mind when you see a few free throw-troubled centers ranked higher than you otherwise might anticipate.
- Owners in roto leagues thus shouldn’t take these rankings as gospel. Use them, along with FantasyPros’ ECR and ADP, to get a sense of how particular players are being valued this year, but move up well-rounded players and bump down those who will cripple you in a particular category.
- You’ll notice a few higher-ranked players have either moved up or slid down from where they were in the positional rankings. I’ll include notes on those, along with a few other late-round flyers, below the Top 200.
With all of that in mind, dive in:
|My Rankings||FantasyPros ECR||Difference|
A few notes on risers and fallers from the past few weeks:
- Kyle Lowry jumped two spots in the PG rankings, going from my PG10 to PG8. While it’s always dangerous to put too much stock into preseason performance, it’s hard to ignore the now-skinny Lowry pouring in 30.3 points while playing roughly 25 minutes a night. The dude appears poised for a monster year, and if Kyrie Irving’s timetable to return doesn’t become clear soon, he might even vault up to PG7. I’d still keep Bledsoe ahead of him no matter what, though.
- Pau Gasol, meanwhile, tumbled below Draymond Green to a late fourth- or early fifth-round pick. Bobby Portis is the real deal, folks. I figured the Bulls would have the same frontcourt conundrum they did last year — how to get enough minutes for Gasol, Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson and Nikola Mirotic — but Portis is only further complicating that equation. It wouldn’t be a total shock to see Pau play less than 30 minutes a night in an effort to keep him fresh for the playoffs, which will significantly hurt his fantasy value.
- Our Top 10 shooting guards piece went live before Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was lost for most, if not all of the season due to a shoulder injury. While MKG’s absence doesn’t bode well for Charlotte’s ability to compete for a playoff spot, Nicolas Batum’s fantasy value is only going to spike even further now. He’s an outright steal in the fifth round, and you wouldn’t be crazy to consider him in the fourth, especially in roto leagues.
- The same goes for Tyreke Evans: He was ranked significantly higher in the Top 10 small forwards piece, but now that he’s out for six-to-eight weeks after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right knee, per John Reid of the Times Picayune, his draft-day value took a nosedive. For what it’s worth, he would’ve been in my top 40 had he been healthy. Eric Gordon’s fantasy value, meanwhile, receives a decent boost with Evans sidelined and Jrue Holiday on a significant minutes restriction.
- As noted in the intro, punting categories can be an especially valuable strategy for owners in head-to-head leagues. If you do decide to go that route, target Andre Drummond or DeAndre Jordan in the third round or Dwight Howard in the late fourth or early fifth. Drummond, in particular, could provide top 10 value if you remove FT% from the equation.
- Even though Tristan Thompson finally reached a contract agreement with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Kevin Love will still be a sneaky great pick in the late second or early third round, depending on the size of your league. The Cavs are going to be relying heavily upon him this year, particularly if LeBron James’s suddenly troublesome back causes him to miss any time during the regular season.
And a few notes on late-round flyers and players to avoid:
- Isaiah Canaan is going to win the 76ers’ starting point-guard job by default at the start of the season, but my money is still on Kendall Marshall taking over once he’s healthy enough to return. Depending on the size of your league and your roster, Marshall may go undrafted, but you’d be wise to stash him with a final-round pick, especially if your league has an IR spot. The Sixers have been top 10 in pace each of the past two seasons, and that doesn’t figure to change this year.
- Zach LaVine appears poised for a significant role this season, as interim head coach Sam Mitchell told reporters earlier this month, which boosts his fantasy value accordingly. Mitchell said the decision to play his youngsters heavily is “about where you are as an organization and where you’re trying to go,” which means the Timberwolves aren’t likely to rely heavily on veterans just to scrape out a few extra wins. Seeing as LaVine averaged 13.8 points, 5.1 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 1.0 steals during his 40 starts last year, he’ll be a high-upside late-round pick given his new role.
- Brandon Jennings, Jabari Parker and Jrue Holiday all tumbled down the rankings due to their respective injuries/injury risk. Jennings isn’t likely to be back until December at the earliest, while Parker and Holiday figure to be under restrictive minutes limits for the first few months of the season. Their upside, if healthy, is exponentially higher than where they’re ranked here, but they simply won’t have the opportunity to make a consistent fantasy impact for the first few months. Let someone else draft them, get frustrated and dump them to the waiver wire.
- Target Utah’s backcourt (particularly Alec Burks and Rodney Hood) and anyone on Portland with your late-round picks. You can thank me later.
Players’ positions are based on Basketball-Reference.com‘s play-by-play data, unless otherwise noted. All fantasy-value data from 2014-15 are via FantasyPros.com and are based on eight-category leagues.